Thursday, August 26, 2010

Saucony Rides Retire

A popular question for many new runners is "when should I replace my shoes?"

While I certainly can't give an answer that will work for you, I can share what I've learned while running in my Saucony Rides.

First, a little about me as a runner. I'm average. Terribly so. I run a 12:00 minute mile, usually run on the roads (when I do venture onto the trails I wear different shoes), weigh 230 pounds (235 if I'm honest), and I'm 6 feet tall. All of the shoes discussed below are Men's size 10 wide. After a bit of sampling, I think I actually belong in 10 and a half wide. I don't cross train in my shoes very much and never wear them as casual shoes. In other words, these are my shoes for running and nothing else.

My first pair of Saucony Rides were the Ride 1s (or just plain Rides or Ride I or whatever works for you). They were red and flashy and made me feel cool. I ran in them for about a year before I retired them about a year or so ago. They feel like a pair of great, worn-in, sneakers now.

From there I upgraded to the Ride 2s. These are blue (at least the wide-width ones are). Not as flashy as the red ones, but just as cool. Over time I amassed a collection of three pair. In order of age and use, they are the 251 mile pair, 117 mile pair, and the 0 mile pair. The only difference besides the mileage is the 117 mile pair have red laces. I needed a way to keep them apart so I could rotate properly.

Now, when should you replace your shoes? Well, the best answer I have is what I learned from somebody else. If you have to ask, it's probably time to replace them. But, assuming you're asking early, here are a few things to think about.

- On average, most "authorities" will give you a range of miles between 200 and 600. Some will even say 6,000 miles or more. Personally, I think 300 to 500 miles is the norm.
- Everybody and every body is different. So are shoes. So if I replace my shoes at 200 miles, you may not need to replace them until 400 miles. I'm a big guy. You may be small. I may run heavier than you or pronate more. Hard to say.
- Check your wear. Look at your shoe on the inside and outside. If it's falling apart or the tread is worn down, replace them. Repairing them with goo on the outside won't help the foam cushioning on the inside.
- Compare them to a new pair of the same shoe. This goes with the above point. You can see in the photos I link to below how much my shoes have worn over the miles. Comparing them to a brand-new shoe helps give you a clear picture of how much you've used them.
- Pay attention to your body. If any aches and pains crop up, try a new pair of shoes. Believe it or not, if you run often enough and listen to your body, you'll notice the difference between new and old shoes.
- Stick to the same brand and model if you can. While I'm happy with my Saucony Rides, their TR-4 trail shoes have given me a few issues. But the Brooks Cascadia trail shoes have not. Get fitted for a shoe, try LOTS of shoes on, then pick one. Run a few miles in them before deciding for sure.

Now for the big reveal. Here are my Saucony Rides in a bit of a side-by-side comparison.

The Ride Family:

Ride 1:

Ride 2 (251 miles):

Ride 2 (117 miles):

Ride 2 (0 miles):

Four generations:

Close-up of the Ride 1s:

Close-up of Ride 2s (251 miles):

Close-up of Ride 2s (117 miles):

Close-up of Ride 2s (0 miles):

Ride 1 (??? miles - retired) vs. Ride 2 (0 miles) - You can see the heavy wear and how the white part has even started to wear:

Ride 2 (251 miles- retired) vs. Ride 2 (0 miles) - Forefoot:

Ride 2 (251 miles- retired) vs. Ride 2 (0 miles) - Heel:

Ride 2 (117 miles- retired) vs. Ride 2 (0 miles) - Forefoot:

Ride 2 (117 miles- retired) vs. Ride 2 (0 miles) - Heel:

So as you can see, the side-by-side comparison of the old shoe next to the new shoe really shows you how much you've run in them.

On a side note, the Ride 2s with 251 miles have now been "officially" retired from the running ranks. I'll continue to wear them as my "everyday" shoes but won't run in them anymore. And as I said above, I think I actually belong in a 10.5 shoe, so when it comes time to purchase a new pair, I'll get the Ride 3s. Unless Somnio or some other shoe brand out there would like to sponsor me and my running addiction.